Lyford Cay Foundations Award Academic Scholarships to 18 Bahamians Committed to Making A Difference
Eighteen Bahamians who are committed to making a difference in The Bahamas in fields ranging from mitigating climate change to ending physical abuse have been awarded generous undergraduate and graduate school scholarships from the Lyford Cay Foundations.
Today’s announcement of the names of academic awardees follows earlier news that for the first time in its 50+ year history, the Foundations saw the majority of successful applicants for vocational scholarships chose training and certification in medical or health-related subjects – perhaps inspired by the great health care needs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Both groups, academic and technical vocational, were outstanding this year, making the work of the independent screening committees more challenging than ever and many of the students who applied were so impressive that they were also being offered substantial scholarships from top universities, all of which speaks for the quality and reputation of students from The Bahamas,” said Dr. Nicola Virgill-Rolle, Executive Director. “What was of particular interest this year is the common thread in their essays, almost like a fire burning in them – a desire to make a difference in The Bahamas when they return.”
One of those recipients, Empress Sears, a graduate of Sunland Baptist Academy in Grand Bahama, is off to study Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto with a William Birchall Scholarship. “An issue we as Bahamians should all be concerned about is the lack of attention given to our natural resources,” Sears wrote in her essay. “Our beaches, mangroves, pine forests, and coral reefs are in a state of peril….Overproduction of air pollutants has caused the temperature to steadily climb worldwide. The results of this come in the form of sweltering heat and devastating hurricanes. These effects play a major role in why our natural resources are under extreme stress. It is our duty as Bahamians to seek out the best possible methods to reduce the severity of these natural disasters.”
Two other recipients, Jasmine Adamson and Paul Roberts, plan to tackle the energy problem, focusing on renewables, Roberts at University of California, Berkley, and Adamson at Kettering University.
Another, Rhodricia Francis, was inspired by her own family’s experience to become a pharmaceutical chemist. “I believe that Bahamians deserve access to better treatments and medications,” she wrote. “As a pharmaceutical chemist, I will develop novel, effective drugs with minimal side effects and investigate more efficient methods to synthesize current drugs. Efficiency in drug creation will make medication more accessible to the general population.”
Lyford Cay Foundation Chairman Basil Goulandris cited the variety of interests and ambition as “extraordinary.”
“Every year, we think how can next year’s applicants equal this year’s and every year, new applicants surprise us,” he said. “This year, the applicants showed interest in a wide variety of subjects that were very demanding and an extraordinary ambition to make The Bahamas even better.”
Canadian Lyford Cay Foundation Chairman Tim Unwin agreed.
“When you look at the fields of study and the quality of the scholarship recipients for 2021-22, you have to feel that the future of The Bahamas is in good hands,” Unwin declared. “Upon their return to The Bahamas, these wonderful students will find many opportunities to give effect to their vision.”
The Foundations awarded $380,000 in scholarships this year to 26 new recipients in addition to the 27 ongoing scholarships allowing Bahamians to study throughout the US, Canada and the UK. The Foundations have awarded more than $50 million in education benefits to Bahamians along with helping to support non-profits, with an emphasis on those that contribute to education.
Recipients of this year’s new undergraduate scholarships include Paul Roberts – Physics at the University of California, Berkeley; Jasmine Adamson – Mechanical Engineering, Kettering University; Zion Virgil – Chemistry, Florida Southern College; Rhodricia Francis – Chemistry, Florida International University; Jaleah Taylor – Visual Arts/Communications, Media and Film, University of Windsor; Kiara Minnis – Computer Science Degree with Cooperative Education, Lakehead University; Ashanti Marshall – English and Art, St. Francis Xaviers; Shealyn Burrows – Chemistry, St. Mary’s University; Tyler Christie – Biology, St. Mary’s University; Dacacia Russell – Accounting, Mount Royal University; Chandler Darville – Mechanical Engineering, University of Toronto; Alexander Baxter – Management, University of Toronto; Asya Johnson – Computer Science, University of New Brunswick; Empress Sears – Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto.
Those working toward graduate degrees include : Leandria Albury – Public Health Administration and Policy, University of Minnesota; Felecia Campbell – Child and Youth Care, Holland College; Lemuel Johnson – Trumpet Performance, Western Illinois University; and Clarence Albury – Creative Writing, Witchita State University.